What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Writing

Matt Lillywhite

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash


Do you ever find yourself wishing you could be a writer?

If you’re anything like my past-self, your response will be something along the lines of “all the time.”

Right? Most of us spend hours reading through writing tips, studying the habits of famous authors, and doing anything necessary to improve the quality of our work.

However, we’re often so focused on the final result, that we rarely stop and think about navigating the long process of becoming a successful writer.

We think “If I can get a million views… get my work published… or make a full-time income, everyone will consider me to be an incredible writer.”But sooner or later, you realize that success is merely remaining consistent in your actions to achieve a specific goal. Will Durant said it best:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

So below are a collection of lessons from writing that I wish I knew earlier. Each one of these insights enabled me to create a full-time income from my passion & live a life that I once considered impossible. I hope they do the same for you, too.

You Need To Write Every Day.

Over the past few months, I’ve begun treating writing like a sport ascontinual practice is essential to achieving high levels of success and beating the competition.

So I’ll often spend time rewriting paragraphs, learning the correct use of grammar, and understanding how to replicate the success of previous articles that performed well.

I’m empathetic to the fact that you may not have the time to publish every day. So don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you need to spend hours writing new content. However, it’s essential to realize that deliberate practice is the only way to improve so you can become a better writer.

Start by writing intros, working on your tone of voice, or anything else which gets you one step closer to improving your writing ability. In the words of Darren Hardy:

“The accomplishment of any goal is the progressive accumulation, or compound effect, of small steps taken consistently over time.”

Your First Draft Will Be Terrible.

One of the biggest mistakes I made as an aspiring writer was publishing my first draft immediately after finishing a new article. Although I was able to write pretty quickly, I was often rejected by online publications because I wasn’t editing my work.

Despite being held back by a lack of self-esteem, my mindset quickly changed when I discovered the following quote from Cheryl Strayed:

“I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.”

When you frequently think about the editing process, the quality of your writing rapidly improves as you’re able to convey what you have to say in a manner that’s easy for your readers to understand.

So whenever you finish a new article, try to express each point with greater clarity, and figure out the actions necessary to make your writing more enjoyable to read.

Because when you edit each piece with the reader at the forefront of your mind, you’ll discover that your success as a writer will rapidly improve.

Making Money Will Take Longer Than You Think.

One of the biggest reasons people give up on their dreams as a writer is due to a lack of foresight regarding how long it will take to create an income from their articles.

For example, I was naive in believing that it would take a couple of weeks to make significant amounts of money from my writing. But in reality, it took six months of hard work to receive a paycheck totaling $3740.

I’ve discovered that you can achieve anything if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality. In the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

Remember: If you want to become a successful writer, all you need to do is practice every day, and everything else will fall into place.

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